How Did Milwaukee Serial Killer Go On For 20 Years?


If what authorities believe is true, alleged serial killer Walter E. Ellis of Milwaukee escaped detection for more than 20 years, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The politics of the criminal justice system, a host of unreliable witnesses, and the fact most of the victims were prostitutes helped him avoid arrest even as bodies were dumped within blocks of his home. Ellis was charged last week with killing seven women. His DNA was found on two more. The State Crime Laboratory is testing genetic material found on the victims of another 20 unsolved homicides.

Bill Vogl, who led the Milwaukee Police Department’s homicide unit at the time, suspected a serial killer almost immediately after the second body was discovered. Vogl, who retired in 1991, said he told his supervisor he thought the same person had killed the two women. “I entered with a businesslike attitude to discuss the matter, and I used the word serial, and I got reamed out,” Vogl said. “That was the end of the meeting. I think they were more fearful of the pressure the word could (create) via the media than anything else. [] They didn’t want the word used. They didn’t want that to get out to the media.”

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